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Maranoa Mayor Tyson Golder engaged in misconduct over land-swap meeting, tribunal rules

By Elly Bradfield, Monday January 4, 2021 - 19:53 EDT
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Tyson Golder, the Mayor of Maranoa, has been found to have made "misleading and dishonest" statements. - ABC licensed

Maranoa Regional Council Mayor Tyson Golder has been found to have engaged in misconduct by the Councillor Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

The tribunal found the Mayor made unauthorised, dishonest and misleading comments at a private meeting in November 2017 about a land acquisition during talks with landowners Trevor and Jody Dare, who had been in negotiations with the council as part of the Roma Flood Mitigation Project.

The meeting was organised by council staff and held at council offices, but notes from the meeting showed Cr Golder told the couple the meeting was being held at his personal request and he was attending in a personal capacity, rather than as a councillor.

There was no implication of wrongdoing on the couple's part.

Cr Golder, who was elected Mayor in 2016, declined to comment, citing legal advice.

The tribunal ruling stated Cr Golder's conduct "involved a breach of trust placed in him".

"The Tribunal found that Councillor Golder's statement that he was at the meeting in his personal capacity and not as a councillor was not authorised by the Council and was misleading and dishonest," the CCT found.

It also determined that Cr Golder made other comments that were not authorised by the council, when he told the couple the valuation of their land obtained by council was "strange" and he thought it should be at the rate paid for a neighbouring property.

He said in his personal opinion it was not reasonable to take people's land by compulsory acquisition, which were comments also found to be unauthorised.

"The Tribunal determined expressing those views did not demonstrate high quality leadership and good governance in the circumstances."

The findings also detailed that Cr Golder offered the couple 30 to 40 acres of a nearby "police paddock" at no cost.

The tribunal ordered Cr Golder to make an admission of misconduct at the next council meeting and attend relevant training at his own expense.

"The Tribunal took into account that Councillor Golder had no prior disciplinary history ... and that he believed he was acting in the best interests of the Council and his conduct was within the Act based on previous advice," the CCT said.

Community reaction to finding 'mixed'

Long-term Roma resident Ray Howson, who is involved in a number of community groups, said many locals were shocked by the finding and the reaction would be mixed.

"There would be some people in Tyson's camp that are very, very strongly in Tyson's camp, and certainly there are others who are concerned about the process," Mr Howson said.

"And there are a number of people who are very concerned about the direction council is going.

"I think for the benefit of the community that the Mayor really does need to reflect on his conduct in this case ... [and] whether he is acting in the best interest of the community."

The misconduct finding was handed down two months after the shock resignation of Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow, who was also found to have engaged in misconduct by the CCT.

It found she failed to update her Register of Interests to include a hospitality benefit received from Adani during an official trip to India in 2017.

Mr Howson said he did not believe locals would expect Cr Golder to resign.

"It's an opportunity for him to learn something from it and to grow from it ... [and] to have the trust of the community back," he said.

"He is in danger of losing the trust of some of the community.

"If he can find it within himself to be humble, then this community will allow him to continue in the role that he's doing without there being any repercussions."


© ABC 2021

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